CTA asks delay in driver screenings
Jan 21, 2005 2:18 PM
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is calling upon the US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to re-examine deadlines for driver security screenings.
The alliance also wants CBP to take another look at the procedures it uses for the issuance of monetary fines, according to CTA information.
"It is our understanding that around 70,000 of the 87,000 or so drivers involved in cross-border trucking have applied for FAST registration, indicating that the trucking industry is making an honest and concerted attempt to comply," according to David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer. "But to date, less than 30,000 of those drivers have completed the process, leaving more than 40,000 drivers at various stages of processing.
"Since it is presently taking eight to 12 weeks for the governments to fully process an application, the potential for a serious disruption to trade is very real."
Canadian drivers using the Canadian Border Release Advanced Screening and Selectivity (BRASS) program face being denied entry to the United States by January 30, 2005, at some border crossings if they have not been security screened and registered under the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program.
In addition, carriers cannot always verify shipment data has been submitted to CBP in a timely fashion by customs brokers.
Carriers can then be fined over something they can't control, and if they choose to try and get CBP to drop the fines they end up in a lengthy penalty mitigation process, according to CTA.
CTA wants US and Canadian security officials to extend the deadline, as well as speed up the implementation process for portable enrollment centers, and review the staffing and hours of service at permanent enrollment centers.
The system has been flooded with applications, and CTA says there is no realistic way that enough drivers will be ready to handle the volume of freight moving by the BRASS program by the deadline.
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